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Discussion Starter #1
hi, I need some advice..im gonna start from the beginningso this may be a little long ! I have a 1yr old shepherd that I bought off craigslist, she has papers and came from a breeder in nh. I have her papers which are now reg. to me . She was originally sold to a lady for breeding but they found out she has an overbite so she wasn't breeding material so the lady rehomed her to another lady who had her maybe 3 months ..then the second lady posted her on craigslist and well now I have her ...my problem is that when I take her somewhere or someone anyone kids adults doesn't matter male female ...anytime someone goes to greet her or pat her she barks growls and hides behind me...I don't know what to do my friend tried making friends with her and she actually grabbed her hand but didn't bite( my friend was well aware it would be her fault if she got bit...) so tonight my kids had some friends over and I told the kids just ignore her don't pay attention to her and they did but she kept barking and following very close to the friend...shes usually ok if people ignore her and she goes to smell them its fine but just don't touch her talk to her or acknowledge her because that's when she barks and growls..she turned 1 april 23 of this yr..I have had her since april 14 ....any suggestions would be great...im not looking to re-home her or anything drastic I just want to be able to fix it and if I cant what is the best way to manage this ..I have put up a crate so the friends don't feel threatened and she can't get to them ...she is glued to my side all the time everywhere I go she goes ..she sleeps by myside of the bed..shes good with all of us in the house she has no issues with us and when I went to get her she didn't display any of this behavior..im basically her 4th home starting from the breeder to now....shes a good dog and she listens well I just don't know what to do :(:(
 

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Riley used to bark and growl and hide behind me. We went to training. The trainer said her is not showing aggression he is insecure.It was an 8 week training class and he is much better now. Have you looked into training for her?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have not looked into training yet...that is something I will do ! Is there a specific type of trainer I should go with?
 

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Your home being the 4th one for her, you are probably dealing with insecurity and lack of socialization.

Your first step is excellent. Be sure the trainer knows, understands and has experience with GSD and you have discussed your pup's behavior with the trainer.

As for your pup meeting new people, instruct your friends to completely ignore her, don't reach to pet or scratch her. Let your pup make the first move, whether it is a quick sniff or a nudge for a scratch. Have your friends to occasionally toss a treat to her or with them holding the hands down to their side where she can take the treat. Don't force her to meet or greet, she has already shown she is willing to put her mouth on them when pushed to hard, the next step is a bite. Just for reference, it wouldn't be your friend's fault, you would be responsible.

With the kids, I would keep her separated from them for now, especially with her barking and following.
 

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The trainer i had was through my vet's office. There were about 7 dogs in the class and all the owners. It was a great experience and really helped Riley a lot.
 

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Sounds like fear aggression. You definitely want to start positive-based training and counter-conditioning with her.

You also need to step up your leadership role. You want to use Nothing in LIfe is Free around your house and start incorporating positive, reward-based basic training during ever aspect of your daily routine. She needs to learn to trust that you will take care of her and she doesn't need to defend herself from perceived threats.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks everyone im working on the nilif now and im hoping to turn this around !
 

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She is a good protector, just unexperienced, because she doesn't live in anticipation of your command. Don't worry, that is because 1) she recognises her new home as her territory and mistakes your guests for intruders; 2) because you didn't teach her to behave in presence of strangers. That fact that she normally ignores people doesn't mean much, dogs hide their true feelings sometimes if they are confused. Don't put her in any crate - limited space increases agression. Instead, start teaching her to behave in presence of every guest you have. She must get an impression that she is doing a job. Ask her to sit or to lie down; you move - she should move with you and, again, sit or lie down. Train her to stop barking in this position by bringing your index finger to your lips and touching her nose with it saying "Quiet!" in a very soft loving voice. If she doesn't listen - put her into "prison" for punishment, take her in the distant corner, or even into another room (but don't close the door) and ask to remain in sitting position. She barks again - back in that room. It will take time before she listens to you and stops barking at first command. Avoid any bodily interference with your friends such as hugging or shaking hands just for a while before your dog is trained to watch your guests quietly, because such gestures might provoke her agressive moods. I suppose, you have guests not every day, but you walk with your dog every day. Muzzle her and invite people to touch her if they want. Again, same commands - "Sit" and "Quiet". Don't expect her to turn a friendly dog in the future, she is a true GSD and tends to protect you, but she must be tolerant to other people if you told her to.
 

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but she kept barking and following very close to the friend...shes usually ok if people ignore her and she goes to smell them its fine but just don't touch her talk to her or acknowledge her because that's when she barks and growls
You really need to keep an eye on this as many fearful dogs will bite from behind. I would not have her loose with guests around if she is going to display this behavior. Enforcing the no talk, touch or eye contact with guest is great.

Get a professional trainer. Typically I deal with this with counter-conditioning and desensitization.

Counter-conditioning causes her to change her association of strangers from bad to good. Food is the easiest thing to use. Must be outside her threshold (start from far away) and when a person is in sight feed (drop food on ground instead of from hand) so she learns people means food appears. Over the course of a few weeks can get closer and closer but always make sure you don't go over threshold. Really should have a trainer in person to show you what is meant by this and to describe dog body language to you. Then I start desensitization in the form of taking walks with strangers to help her to bond with a variety of people. Eventually the people can drop food and as she gets more comfortable can feed from hand and potentially start to talk or make a little eye contact while feeding.

I often do a series of 6 lessons depending on the dog. A trainer that will do an assessment is good because then they will talk to you about what they plan to do with your dog based on the behavior they have observed.
 

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Absolutely crate her when guests are over until you get a handle on this. Hiding behind you and growling? That is fear, not confidence. she is not protecting you...she is reacting out of fear to drive the scary people away. If she bites someone, it could be a lawsuit for you and a death sentence for her. Even if that doesn't happen, every time she makes contact she'll gain confidence and it will get worse.

Find a good trainer who has experience with German Shepherds (maybe look for a Schutzhund club or a GSD breeder for suggestions).
 

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Yes crating is really important while you are going through training so you do not set her up for failure and bad experiences. My last client that I worked with for this was great at getting tons of guests over and would have them for dinner to bribe them to help her train. As soon as our hour long lesson was over though it was time for the dog to go rest in her crate until the guests left. An hour of interaction was plenty and this way everyone can then relax and not have to worry about constantly doing the right thing.

I saw this dog as a young puppy and she was very fearful of people. One of those ones where you can basically call how they will turn out as an adult. I bet she didn't start to switch from retreating to forward aggression until she was over a year. When we did lesson she was 2 years old and had twice nipped from behind.

She was also a GSD and for those who didn't know better looked very scary and aggressive. Your girl has not progressed this far yet so please start with a professional soon to get this taken care of before it gets worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I thought it may be fear aggression. .now howcome when I went to pick her up she didn't show this behaviour? I'm kinda thinking that as a pup she was isolated and probably kenneled a lot..she was suppose to be a breader but when the found a flaw that was it she was rehomed .
 

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There are many ways to display fear it could be that as she is getting older (just turned a year) that she is moving towards more forward display. The dog in my post above would never have barked or nipped at anyone as a puppy.
 

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I definitely think Clyde's advice is excellent and should be taken.

It might be a slow process, but it will be worth it to try and manage / fix this.

I think you weren't seeing this when you picked her up because she was probably somewhat settled in that home, now she's got yet another one..All these changes are most likely very confusing for her..

Good luck with her!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks. .I'm def. Taking clydes advice..I wanna fix this..or do what I can to manage it..I will not rehome her ..she has been through enough homes..I just want her to be comfortable.
 
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